How I'm Using Social Media to Find My Niche


How I'm Using Social Media to Find My Niche 

by Nikki Uy, Spring 2013 Niche Movement Cohort Member 

I had learned about the Niche Movement through the Assistant Director of Student Outreach and Support Wellness and Alcohol and Drug Education at Saint Joseph’s University, Katie Bean. She had invited me to the Mark Conference at Rutgers in February 2013 and since I enjoyed it so much, she directed me to the Niche Movement’s application process for their first online mentorship. At the time, I had my Facebook deactivated as my fasting for 40 days of Lent and I had hated the idea of having a Twitter. One of the reasons why I thought I needed to get away from Facebook was because of an increasing addiction to seeing that little red balloon pop up to fuel my self-esteem. I figured Twitter was not going to be any different.

Once the founder of the Niche Movement, Kevin O’Connell welcomed me into the Spring 2013 Cohort, it’s safe to say that my vice shrunk in swelling. Though I didn’t quite make it the 40 days (5 days early!), the separation helped me balance using Facebook for communication purposes and the occasional ‘facebook stalking’ (Admit it! I’m sure majority of people are guilty of this too!). This worked to my advantage now, seeing that I had to reactivate my Facebook to keep up with the Movement’s postings.

I also created a Twitter account, which honestly, was to my own dismay at first. After Kevin gave us a list of handles to follow, though, I immediately became attracted to the advantages Twitter yields. It’s been two or three months now, and I have already been exposed to how easy it is to communicate with certain associations and people that I’m interested in. Though I owe many laughs to accounts like Ugly People Problems and Funny Pokemon and many nostalgic memories of the past few months to 90s Girl Problems and It’s Boy Meets World, and I must apologize for my endless tweets to the Backstreet Boys in an attempt to win VIP tickets to 20th anniversary tour this summer.

Personally, I’m very interested in the fields of Psychology, Philosophy, and if any of those two relates to the concept of utilizing language, my heart explodes with passion.  An aspiring future Speech Therapist, I’ve connected with grad students divulging both positive and negative experiences in pursuing the same field such as Life as a Speechie. I’ve been able to read up on research on therapeutic speech programs for both children and adults through accounts like Speedy Speech. I was reassured that the job market for Speech Therapy and Pathology is in high demand, thanks to PediaStaff, Inc. These sorts of connections, simply through reading Tweets, have reaffirmed what I want to do with my life.

I even created a page on, which has the option to connect a Wordpress blog to it. To fluff my page even more, I’m actually in the process of creating a blog centralized on documenting my life through pictures and stories (which Twitter has also helped me with by expose me to different artists and writers!). If there’s one that I learned through the Niche Movement, it’s that there are loves and interests of mine that I can develop through the use of social media.

5 Tips on how to be a Connector


Guest post by Jen Bokoff

Last year, I read an article called Forget Networking. How to Be a Connector. Since then, I have developed and offered a class on just that. It’s been a popular class – surprisingly so – and I’ve learned a lot through teaching it. For instance:

  • People have a hard time realizing their existing network.

  • There’s genuine interest in developing stronger connections with people, but fear of going about it the ‘wrong’ way.

  • It’s a tough sell on why you’d want to go out of your way to connect two people with each other, because people want to unveil the hidden agenda.

I’ve also fine-tuned my definition of a Connector. I didn’t previously parse out what exactly makes me a Connector, nor did I think about why it is an asset that I can leverage in my career or otherwise. Here’s how I define it:

A Connector is a person who…

  • has lots of great people in their network

  • naturally introduces members of their network to one another

  • is socially fluent

  • is known and respected in their communities

…and who uses that power to bring individuals in their network together constructively and with overall success.

I’m proud to have connected people over ideas, shared interests, collaborative potential, accountability, research, and resources. I enjoy connecting good people, and am fortunate to have (or to create) many opportunities for doing so. It’s a science, an art, and an energizing delight. Most exciting to me is that connecting people unleashes unlimited potential. It’s amazing to see what partnerships, conversation, and social change are sparked through catalytic connection.

I challenge you as students to use the power of connecting to advance your personal career goals. Think of this as a deeper, more sincere form of networking. Here are five active steps you can take NOW:

1.     Figure out who you know. It’s more than you think; your local coffee guy, friends’ parents, panelist from a recently attended event, twitter followers, and sorority sisters are all people in your network. Who else? Figure out who your contacts are, organize them, and make a goal to connect with 10 of them in the next month about anything. Your connection could be in person, online, or over the phone, but find a clear and sincere reason to connect.

2.     Think about what’s needed. Do you, your passion project, or a close contact need something that would benefit from people-power? Cull your network and see who you might be able to introduce (politely! and without commitment!) to one another to get the job done.

3.     Offer something to others. The best way to build strong connections is if you bring something to the table. Volunteer for a friend’s cause; tip the coffee guy; share a classmate's published journal article on your social media networks; provide professional services to a family member who could benefit. Do it sincerely and without expectation of something in return.

4.     Get introduced by introducing yourself. How do you get in the door to a company that's not hiring or stay in the loop with an awesome panelist from an event you recently attended? Get introduced if you have a shared contact or introduce yourself. It's never wrong to make a cold call or email someone you don't know. Just make sure that you keep it short (no attachments or essays!), highlight a clear purpose for wanting to connect (ie career path, interest in what being a Marketer for a Fortune 500 company entails, alumni from Rutgers University in field of interest), and keep the tone warm (use conversational wording). I often ask if we can connect for a quick coffee or phone call so that I can hear more about their career path, because I found x y and z fascinating. Show that you've done your research and want to have a substantive conversation to learn about them or their company.

5.     Learn the art of following up. Write a thank you note to a professor who made a difference to you. Post an article on a high school friend's Facebook timeline that they'll find interesting. Call a vendor you worked with on a student government project to see what other services they offer. In general, try to be that person who remembers other people in one way or another. It will help you in the future, and you'll feel good about it.

Happy Connecting!

This blog post was repurposed from content originally appearing on


Jen Bokoff is the director of GrantCraft, a project of the Foundation Center that harnesses the knowledge and experience of funders to provide quality resources, and teaches professional development classes at the Brooklyn Brainery. She has also worked for a private foundation, the IRS, and LIFT, an anti-poverty nonprofit. In her spare time, Jen is a blogger, storyteller, and clutch hitter on her nonprofit softball team.